Friday, April 14, 2017

Travel Guide: Playa del Carmen, Mexico

For my college graduation present, I visited Playa del Carmen, Mexico. While I was there, I loved exploring the area's gorgeous beaches and the variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Here are my recommendations for Playa del Carmen. 
To Stay:
  • Excellent service: Right when we entered the hotel, we were greeted with glasses of champagne. The staff at the hotel was incredibly helpful and made you feel welcomed/comfortable. 
  • Gorgeous interior/exterior: The hotel has a modern feel to it. I loved how everything was out in the open and not enclosed. The hotel setup was perfect for a beach vacation. 
  • Close proximity to 5th avenue: When you walk out the front of the hotel, you are within walking distance of all of the shops and restaurants in the area. 
  • Beachfront access & infinity pool: Necessities for a beach vacation. 
  • Excellent food at the hotel: The guac they had at the hotel was some of the best guac I have ever had! I probably had a bowl of guac and chips every day I was at the hotel. I also recommend the breakfast buffet and the quesadillas. 
  • Other Hotels I heard were nice in Playa: Mahekal Beach Resort, Thompson Playa del Carmen, and Banyan Tree Mayakoba. 
To Eat:

 Chez Celine (above) 
This is the perfect brunch spot in Playa. The food and drinks are inexpensive and delicious. I recommend the ham and cheese croissant, strawberry tart, french toast, and nutella and strawberry crepe. 

This place has amazing Italian food. The pasta is handmade - right when you approach the restaurant, you will see a chef making the pasta. I suggest making a reservation for outdoor seating beforehand, the restaurant is a pretty popular spot in Playa and gets crowded. I recommend the baked penne and the carbonara spaghetti.

Hands down the best service we received at a restaurant on vacation. Our waiter was incredibly attentive and friendly. I recommend the caesar salad (they make the salad at your table) and the filet mignon. 

Alux is one of the few restaurants in the world that is located in a real cave. This is a great place to come for drinks and dessert and walk/take pictures around the cave.

To Do:
We chose the Akumal Beach and cenote snorkeling tour with Ecotours. We picked this tour because Akumal Beach is famous for having tons of sea turtles that swim near the shore. Also, we wanted to do an underground cave like snorkel. For the tour, I recommend the earliest tour. The later the time, the more tour groups and tourist will arrive. We did the beach snorkel first. We were face to face with sea turtles, fish, and stingrays! We probably saw about 10 sea turtles and plenty of fish and stingrays. The second tour was the cenote snorkel. I highly recommend doing at least one cenote snorkeling or diving trip while you are here. Snorkeling in the cenote was truly an unforgettable experience. 

For parasailing we booked with Maroma Tours. We wanted to do parasailing with a company that was certified and knew was safe. This was my second time parasailing and I loved getting to see the views of Playa del Carmen. 

5th avenue is home to a majority of the shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in town. Walking around 5th avenue is a great way to spend a few hours in Playa.

That is all for my travel guide for Playa del Carmen! What are your favorite activities, places to stay, and restaurants in Playa del Carmen, Mexico? Where should I travel next? Let me know in the comment section! 

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